Ocado warehouse fire caused by robot collision

Ocado has said that a fire that took place at its Erith customer fulfilment centre on Friday appeared to have been caused by a collision of three robots on its grid system.

Over the weekend, the company said that it expected some disruption to operations but that it was working to restore normal service as soon as possible.

Following the incident, some customer orders were cancelled by Ocado.

Ocado expects the facility to be running again later this week.

“The correct protocols were successfully implemented including the evacuation of the building, the activation of the sprinkler system and the presence of the London Fire Brigade,” said the company in a statement. “No one has been injured and all colleagues on site are safe.”

Fifteen fire engines and around 100 firefighters were called to the warehouse.

The London Fire Brigade said that the fire at the three-story warehouse, which is divided into 30 loading bays, was deep seated and a challenging operation.

"Firefighters worked hard in hot and arduous conditions inside the warehouse,” said Steve Vydelingum, station commander. “Around 800 staff evacuated before the Brigade arrived. There were no reports of any injuries. The fire is very deep seated and firefighters will continue to be at the scene into Saturday (17 July) damping down hot spots."

The Brigade was called at 12:42 and the fire was under control by 02:17. Fire crews from Bexley, Plumstead, Millwall, Lee Green, Greenwich, Eltham fire stations were at the scene.

According to Ocado the damage is limited to a small section of less than 1 per cent of the grid having been contained by planned fire attenuation measures.

Aside from some residual smoke smell, it said, the vast majority of the warehouse is in good condition.

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